Norwegian alpine skiers and not least the coach of the national team, Christian Mitter, could celebrate this week after completing their most-winning ski season ever. Mitter, however, isn’t resting on his laurels, while slalom champ Henrik Kristoffersen just wants to rest for the next three months.
The young slalom star, who won the overall World Cup this weekend, has now proven himself as the best slalom skier in the world. He admitted on the Skavlan talk show recently, though, that he was hurting everywhere as the long season wound down. He’s only 21, but he got sick last week before the final races at St Moritz and he’d been plagued by a fatigue injury in one of his legs. The only treatment is rest, and that’s what finally lies ahead. He’s now able to set his skis aside in May, June and July “and I’m looking forward to that,” he told newspaper Aftenposten on Monday. “I’m going to do completely different things.”
Even though he finished in an unusual 18th place in Sunday’s race, he had so many points from earlier victories that the coveted crystal World Cup was his. All told, Norway’s men’s team won 19 races this season: Aksel Lund Svindal (7), Kristoffersen (6), Kjetil Jansrud (4) and Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (2). Nina Løseth also won a slalom race for the women at Santa Caterina in January. At last week’s Super G celebrations, only Norwegians were on the winners’ podium.
Coach Mitter, himself an Austrian, claimed he hadn’t thought the Norwegians would do so well this year. “I didn’t see this when the season started, no,” he told Aftenposten. Asked to name the season’s high points, he struggled and asked to name more than just one, including the downhill at Beaver Creek when both Svindal and Jansrud won double, and the triple victory in the Super G at Val Gardena. Also the slalom at Madonna “because Henrik Kristoffersen was so far ahead of anyone else.”
He attributed the team’s success purely to “hard work” with more lying ahead. Training resumes in August, with a trip to the alps of New Zealand.